Kansan Kris Kobach, the Republican former secretary of state who lost the 2018 gubernatorial election by five points to Democratic nominee Laura Kelly in a state that President Donald Trump carried by more than 20 points two years earlier, is back and running for U.S. Senate. In a new kickoff video, he suggests that if Kansas Republicans give him another chance, he will be better prepared for the “propaganda” attacks on him for his racist and white supremacist views.
In the same video, he demonstrates exactly why even Trump’s presidential transition vetting team flagged him for “white supremacy” concerns.
While waving a coffee mug around in front of a black screen, Kobach began his ad quoting the late climate-science denier Michael Crichton about the threat of fantasy propaganda winning out over truth.
“When someone is called a racist, a fascist, even a white nationalist, over and over, on a daily basis, even Kansans will eventually doubt themselves and start to believe what is false,” he argued. “Sorry to say, but by the end of the campaign, Democrats and their media allies had convinced many people — even Republicans — that I was an extremist. If I were one, I would tell you. But I am not.”
Kobach then defends his voter suppression conspiracy theories and harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric as consistent with the views of “over 90% of Republicans,” “the vast majority of Kansans,” and “many Democrats.”
Next, he went through a litany of misleading attacks on the same Democratic congresswomen of color that Trump has attacked. “The Democrats are obsessed with race, sex, and sexual orientation. They use it as a weapon to stifle debate, especially with Republicans.”
But while Kobach attempts to blame his white supremacist image as false propaganda from liberal news outlets, a huge amount of the criticism has actually come from those in his own party.
In last year’s gubernatorial campaign, a shocking array of prominent Kansas Republicans — including two former U.S. senators, a two-term former governor, a former state senate president, and dozens of others — deemed Kobach to be too extreme and crossed party lines to endorse Kelly.
And when Trump’s transition team considered him for possible positions in the administration, they found serious concerns.
“Past political opponents have accused Kobach of allying himself with groups that had connections to white supremacist groups,” Trump’s transition researchers noted in their warning about the then-Kansas secretary of state — likely referencing reports that Kobach had accepted support from white supremacist groups during his unsuccessful 2004 U.S. House of Representatives race.